An amazing tenant in Warriors basketball is the lack of love from the referees. How many times does Baron go to the rack and not get the call? How many times is Monta bumped in mid-air and hear no whistle?
Maybe not. The Warriors have committed 48 more personal fouls than their opponents. They have taken 166 fewer free throws. Assuredly, its partly because they have taken 174 more 3-pointers.
Am I seeing things, or do other teams get exponentially more touch fouls and three-point play opportunities than the Warriors?
One thing you don’t have to worry about is Nelson losing a game for the Warriors. You don’t have to worry about his ego getting in t he way, or his desire to prove he’s right costing the Warriors a chance to win.
In the third quarter, the Warriors doubled Kobe almost every time. Yup, they swallowed their pride, conceded they can’t guard him, and double0-teamed him. Make Smush Parker beat you. Make Kwame Brown touch the ball and make a decision. No chance of going Toronto and leaving one man on him!
The Lakers had 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors chased Bryant out of scoring opportunities. I would do the same thing all fourth quarter, because this is when Kobe shines. Don’t be surprised if Nellie agrees.
This has been quite a turnaround. Don’t know what Don Nelson said, but their defense suddenly has life. Makes you wonder where the intensity was to start such an important game.
One thing that stands out is Monta Ellis’ quickness, especially on defense. The Warriors have to create turnovers to win. So they have to pressure the ball, and that blindside trap — when a the point guard creeps up from behind to double team — produces so many steals. Baron does it well because he has such quick hands. Ellis is so quick, he covers so much ground, he can be in the right spot in a flash. It works to perfection when they don’t foul.
It’s tough to ask Baron to keep up such pressure all game, and do what he does on offense. That means Monta really has to bring the energy on defense, which is becoming an increasingly difficult task considering his importance on offense.
Smush Parker and Sasha Vujacic are vulnerable, so if the Warriors can keep up the pressure in the second half, they can win this game, and perhaps save the season. If Parker and Sasha keep coughing the ball up, it will force Kobe to bring the rock up, which is not only tiring, but allows the Warriors to trap him early and make scoring tougher for him.
They have to keep the pressure up. Can they do it and have juice left in the fourth quarter, without the home crowd to energize them?
This is looking like the old Warriors. They are down 17 early in the second quarter. They can’t buy a basket and they can’t stop Kobe.
This is an ugly way to go out, getting swept by the rival Lakers. But it proves the Warriors still need more. They are relying on jumpers (being outscored in the paint 22-6) and their gambling defense is getting them in foul trouble and allowing the Lakers to shoot 63 percent to this point.
Of course, they may have a run in them. They better. Because this could get ugly.
I was reading up on league stuff and came across this quote from Rasheed Wallace in the Detroit News. Wallace was asked who would he pick for MVP, Nash or Nowitzki. He said neither. He was then asked who would he give it to if not Nash or Nowitzki, and his answer was as blunt as it was legitimate.
“Somebody who plays defense. None of them play any defense. For me, my MVP vote would count for all-around play, not just for scoring buckets. Anybody can score buckets. You get that green light and anybody in this league can be the man. But not everybody in this league can make stops.”
I know I wrote today about how much fun Gilbert Arenas is to watch and to follow. But the Warriors have their own showman in Baron.
Those he’s much more business like and cordial when interacting with the public, Baron can certainly play to a crowd on the court. His showdown with Gilbert Arenas, who some Warriors fans still wish was the franchise point guard, was pure theatrics. He was talking trash, pulling out the tricks, celebrating overtly. He made sure the spotlight remained affixed on him, he’s so electrifying.
What was impressive about his play Friday was that he kept it under control at the right times late in the game. Baron likes to make the big play, and sometimes its to his detriment. He’ll go for the dagger three when driving to the basket is the smarter play. He’ll make a fancy pass when a simple one is all they need. He’llpound the ball so he can make the play instead of trusting his teammates.
But Friday was the Baron the Warriors love to see. He made the extra pass. He took the smart shot. He kept it simple.
That’s what the Warriors need from him. He is a captivating player on the court. But the Warriors also need a smart, cerebral leader, someone who can discern between when to take our breath away, and when to allow us to exhale.
The Warriors chances of winning the all important game against Washington just got tougher as Stephen Jackson just got tossed with 10.3 seconds left in the game. He picked up a technical for arguing a foul call, then picked up another tech after Arenas missed the free throw.
Jackson’s passion is what makes him good. The dude plays hard. He plays hurt. He exudes intensity on a team that was formerly packed the zeal of a chemistry class.
But nights like tonight, and the game at Portland recently, are the times when his passion hurts. They need him on the floor, not in the locker room cooling down under a cold shower.
It’s nights like Friday when he has to learn to calm down, even when he’s right. It’s nights like tonight when he has to swallow his frustration over being wronged, succumb to the ego of a referee, just so he can be there for his team.
It’s one of the most difficult things in sports, balancing emotional players like Jackson. It’s like starting a fire with the hopes of keeping it contained. A gust of wind from the wrong direction, a drop of something flammable, and an un-intended target is going to get burned.
The Warriors need Jackson to master pyromania and fast. This playoff race may come down to the last game. And, frankly, they can’t afford to get burned by his passion too many more times.